By Cam Huffman
The schedule for the area’s biggest annual basketball showcase is set.
The 2014 Big Atlantic Classic will be held Jan. 27-Feb. 1 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, and some of the state’s and nation’s best talent will be in the City of Champions to participate.
“We’ve got great lineups all over the place,” said tournament chairman Jim Justice. “I give Mo Ball and Steve Webb a lot of credit for working really hard in researching and selecting the teams. Pretty much everybody that gets invited is tickled to death to come. And we have another great lineup.”
Justice said living up to the bar that was set in previous years is not always easy, but the alternative is something he never wants to see.
“I don’t like to ride the roller coaster,” he said. “We want to maintain it every year.”
The boys high school bracket will include eight ranked teams from the three different classes. No. 3 Capital, Lewis County, Hurricane, No. 6 Parkersburg South, No. 5 Greebrier East, No. 9 Woodrow Wilson, Preston and University make up the Class AAA bracket with a possibility of Parkersburg South- Woodrow Wilson and Capital-Greenbrier East matchups in the championship round.
In Class AA, No. 2 Wyoming East, No. 3 Bluefield, No. 4 Westside and Mount View will make up the bracket, with Bluefield and Westside going head-to head on the opening day.
In Class A, Sherman, No. 2 Greater Beckley Christian, Buffalo and Fayetteville will be the four competing teams.
There’s also a national game that will pit Oak Hill Academy against Arlington Country Day on Wednesday night.
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The girls bracket is just as competitive, although it is not broken into classes.
Class AAA No. 2 Greenbrier East, George Washington, Class AAA No. 5 University, Class AAA No. 1 Parkersburg South, Class AA No. 1 Westside, Shady Spring, Hedgesville and St. Albans will all be included.
If the rankings hold, Thursday will provide a battle of top teams as Parkersburg South and Westside go head-to-head. A Class AAA 1 vs. 2 matchup could take place in the championship game.
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As always, there’s also a middle school division in this year’s tournament, including boys teams from Bluefield, Beckley-Stratton, Eastern Greenbrier, Shady Spring, Independence and Park and girls teams from Independence, Shady Spring, Eastern Greenbrier and Fayetteville.
“It’s a lot of fun for a lot of players on a lot of different levels,” said Justice. “We’ve been at this a long time, and we know it’s going to be a fun tournament.”
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The other big crowd pleaser every year is a guest speaker who always draws a lot of attention. Terry Bradshaw, Shaquille O’Neal, Cam Newton, Jerry West, Charles Barkley and other big stars have been to Beckley to speak in the past.
Justice said the process is never easy because, “they just won’t commit until the last minute.” He said his team is moving closer, though, and he promises the speaker will be “somebody that people will want to see.”
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.
Big Atlantic Classic
Here is the schedule for the Big Atlantic Classic, set for Jan. 27-Feb. 1 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center:
Monday, Jan. 27
Noon (A) — Independence vs. Shady Spring (girls middle school)
1:15 p.m. (B) — Bluefield vs. Beckley-Stratton (boys middle school)
2:30 p.m. (C) — Eastern Greenbrier vs. Fayetteville (girls middle school)
5:45 p.m. (D) — Eastern Greenbrier vs. Park (boys middle school)
7:25 p.m. (1) — Bluefield vs. Westside (Class AA boys)
9 p.m. (2) — Sherman vs. Greater Beckley Christian (Class A boys)
Tuesday, Jan. 28
2 p.m. (E) — Loser A vs. Loser C (girls middle consolation)
3:15 p.m. (F) — Loser B vs. Loser D (boys middle school)
4:30 p.m. (G) — Winner B vs. Independence (boys middle school)
5:45 p.m. (H) — Winner D vs. Shady Spring (boys middle school)
7:25 p.m. (3) — Wyoming East vs. Mount View (Class AA boys)
9 p.m. (4) — Buffalo vs. Fayetteville (Class A boys)
Wednesday, Jan. 29
Noon (I) — Loser G vs. Loser H (boys middle school consolation)
1:15 p.m. (J) — Winner A vs. Winner C (girls middle school championship)
2:30 p.m. (K) — Winner G vs. Winner H (boys middle school championship)
3:45 p.m. (5) — Loser 2 vs. Loser 4 (Class A boys consolation)
5:30 p.m. (6) — Loser 1 vs. Loser 3 (Class AA boys consolation)
7:20 p.m. (7) — Oak Hill Academy vs. Arlington Country Day (boys national)
9 p.m. (8) — Winner 2 vs. Winner 4 (Class A boys championship)
Thursday, Jan. 30
4 p.m. (9) — University vs. George Washington (girls)
5:45 p.m. (10) — Parkersburg South vs. Westside (girls)
7:25 p.m. (11) — Greenbrier East vs. Shady Spring (girls)
9 p.m. (12) — Hedgesville vs. St. Albans (girls)
Friday, Jan. 31
2 p.m. (13) — Loser 9 vs. Loser 12 (girls consolation)
4 p.m. (14) — Capital vs. Lewis County (Class AAA boys)
5:40 p.m. (15) — Hurricane vs. Parkersburg South (Class AAA boys)
7:20 p.m. (16) — Greenbrier East vs. Preston (Class AAA boys)
9 p.m. (17) — Woodrow Wilson vs. University (Class AAA boys)
Saturday, Feb. 1
9 a.m. (18) — Loser 11 vs. Loser 10 (girls consolation)
10:40 a.m. (19) — Loser 17 vs. Loser 15 (Class AAA boys consolation)
12:20 p.m. (20) — Loser 16 vs. Loser 14 (Class AAA boys consolation)
2 p.m. (21) — Winner 1 vs. Winner 3 (Class AA boys championship)
4 p.m. (22) — Winner 9 vs. Winner 12 (girls championship)
5:40 p.m. (23) — Winner 11 vs. Winner 10 (girls championship)
7:20 p.m. (24) — Winner 17 vs. Winner 15 (Class AAA boys championship)
9 p.m. (25) — Winner 16 vs. Winner 14 (Class AAA boys championship)